Anyone with familiarity of the construction world knows that no project gets off the ground without first receiving an approved plan and permit, and when the demand is reasonable, municipalities can typically accommodate plans examination and permit issuance in a timely manner.
But increasingly, many municipalities in Ontario are experiencing periods when the number of projects exceed what their staff are able to handle within the required timelines, and occasionally they will encounter a more complex project with specialized requirements, turning workloads from manageable to overwhelming rather quickly.
Richard Weidhaus, Chief Building Official for the County of Brant, recently found his municipality not only facing both these scenarios, but also experiencing a shortage of staff, and turned to RSM Building Consultants for assistance. He spoke highly of his municipality’s relationship with RSM president Gerald Moore, whom he first met through the training Moore provides for the Grand Erie chapter of the Ontario Building Officials Association, of which Brant County is a member.
“Since we’ve known Gerald, we know about his background with the building code and municipal organizations—it goes back a long way—and there’s definitely trust in his knowledge and experience. He’s been in larger municipalities and he’s dealt with difficult situations…his approach to teaching is what leads you to using him and trusting him.”
Not only were RSM able to provide the county with their expertise in the completion of a complex file, they’ve been instrumental in assisting with the influx of permit requests the municipality has been experiencing, owing to the development of multiple subdivisions within the same timeframe.
“The requirement that we asked of RSM was something like 20 permits per week, for six to eight weeks—they said no problem, and they did it. “
RSM Building Consultants can quickly dispatch senior plans examiners as well as building code specialists who can assist with projects that are more complicated or complex in nature.
“They’re closing in on 170 reviews they’ve done for us (in 2020). We asked them to do 20 per week—that’s a lot.”
Moore likens the availability of RSM services to that of a light switch—it can be flicked on and kept on when the need is there, and just as easily flicked off when it’s not. It’s this combination of flexibility, availability, and experience that lends trust and credibility to those requiring their services.
“I think their communication is probably their biggest asset,” says Weidhaus. “I was excited that their process was established, it worked well, and I never had to call on them and check on them—they provided us with an email every step of the way.”
While recruitment is underway to fill the vacant roles within Brant county’s building department, Weidhaus acknowledges it can take up to two months to complete that process; meanwhile, the permit requests continued to roll in, and they continued to rely on RSM for assistance, noting that the consequence of delayed permit issuance could potentially jeopardize their relationship with the builders’ and their decision to invest in the area.
“(The builders) were extremely happy…if we had to try and recruit or try and work overtime, it would’ve taken twice as long.”
Though it is possible to perform plans examination via hard copy, the majority of municipalities have gravitated toward the convenience and efficiency of online plans examination. RSM completes their reviews using BlueBeam software, considered to be the industry standard. Ownership of the file allows RSM to communicate directly with the applicant or designer, saving an additional step for municipalities while ensuring code compliance is met.
“They’re flawless, and their communication is good. They definitely are at the top of our list for helping our industry.”
Municipalities in need of turning on the light switch can trust that RSM Building Consultants are experienced, available to assist in any number of scenarios, and have built a solid reputation of reliability, efficiency, and trust with their clients. More information on our plans examination services.